The NRL has launched an official investigation into a Penrith Panthers trainer who called for an injury stoppage in the dying embers of the game against the Parramatta Eels on Saturday.
With less than five minutes left on the clock and the score locked at 8-6 to the Panthers, the Eels found themselves within striking range to bag a try and take the lead.
And with just 12 Penrith players on the field due to an earlier sin-binning, it looked like Parramatta had the momentum behind them to cause a massive upset late on.
But just as their rivals edged closer to the try line, Penrith star Mitch Kenny went down clutching his ankle in back play following a coming-together with Eels forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard.
Seeing the Panthers man hit the deck, club physio Pete Green ran onto the field and treated the injured player before signalling over to the referee.
Play was ultimately halted and the Eels' threatening attack was stopped in its tracks - much to their frustrations.
Kenny was subsequently carted off the field and Tevita Pangai Junior came on as his replacement.
But while Kenny did appear to be struggling with his ankle, some of the Parramatta players looked visibly annoyed when the referee blew his whistle to stop the game.
It was actually the third time the Panthers' physio had stopped play during the back-and-forth semi-final, despite strict NRL rules stating that the game can only be halted if there are real safety concerns.
"The NRL is investigating whether the Panthers deliberately breached the rules in the dying minutes of their game against the Eels," Chammas told Nine News.
"The incident occurred when the trainer called for time to be stopped to treat injured hooker Mitchell Kenny.
"Under the NRL's rules, trainers are only allowed to call for play to be stopped for serious injuries after an initial assessment.
"Footage shows that when the time was called off, none of the Panthers' trainers were even on the field.
"Nine News can also reveal the trainer at the centre of the investigation is physio Pete Green.
"He was issued with a show cause notice earlier in the year for a similar incident involving Viliame Kikau against the Sharks."
And in new damning evidence, reports from the Sydney Morning Herald claim that Penrith trainer Green wasn't even on the pitch when he notified the referee to stop play.
According to NRL rules, a physio can only ask for the game to be halted after conducting an on-field assessment of the injured player.
"It's not the referees' responsibility to determine if a player is seriously injured or not," NRL head of football Graham Annesley said.
"They act on the advice of the trainer. There are rules governing when trainers can and can't stop the game.
"We'll be looking closely at that and other incidents out of the game to see if there was a breach of the rule or not."
Featured Image Credit: Fox League
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